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Albergue “El Refugio” in La Faba totally destroyed by fire

peregrina2000

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Staff member
This very sad news just stresses once again how important it is for peregrinos to make sure about emergency exits in albergues.


This report reminded me of our recent discussion about fire safety in albergues.

Thankfully the building was not occupied at the time of the fire.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2009-2019: More than I remember...
Very sad. This is the vegan albergue at the upper end of the village. Nice people were running it. I hope they can manage this disaster; that they were properly insured. I have always stayed at the other albergue at the beginning of the village, run by Germans. And yes, strange that we talked about fire dangers just days/weeks ago.
 
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David

Veteran Member
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First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
How sad. A habit of mine, whenever I go into a place to sleep the night is to first check how I would get out in a fire ... sometimes I have moved elsewhere as it didn't feel safe to me.
Easy to imagine ten pilgrims in a first floor dark smoke filled room with just one window that some pilgrim has locked .... the horror, the absolute horror!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
This Refugio was in poor condition IMO. And to be honest it always felt rather “grungy” to me. But it was shelter, had a fireplace and they diid have tasty vegan soups, etc. Covid casualty ? It was already closed when we passed this past September, still in high season. I clearly had the impression, then, that it looked like it had been closed for some period?

This recent fire is, indeed a good reminder to always have a mental plan for every building you sleep in. Make sure before you settle in your room where the egress points are, and that the stairs are not blocked, or doors are not locked prohibiting you to exit. Know where the fire extinguishers are and know how to use them.

Unfortunately in the USA we have had many shootings, so I am additionally aware now when I walk into a movie theater, restaurant, or meeting of what my flight options might be if I had to leave quickly.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I needed this thread to remind me, when staying in an albergue, hotel etc. in Spain, to find an exit which is not locked at night, and an alternate, in case that exit is blocked. In Nov./21 I stayed in a hotel at Estacion de Lalin on the Sanabres, where I walked over to the restaurant where I had booked my room and complained about the litter on the stairwell leading to the second floor, where the guest rooms are located. No one was supervising the state of the entrance, where painters had left massive amounts of litter, including a step ladder, on the stairs. There was plenty of empty space to one side of the base of the stairs, but the painters had been too lazy to move the step ladder and bring it back up the next day. Thanks to my complaint, the step ladder was removed. I had to pick up a loose drop cloth, left on the landing, and throw it onto the litter at one side of the stairs. My room was comfortable, but the exit was not safe. I should have also taken the time to look for a second exit. One still lit cigarette butt dumped on that pile of painters refuse and the whole place might have gone up in smoke.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I needed this thread to remind me, when staying in an albergue, hotel etc. in Spain, to find an exit which is not locked at night, and an alternate, in case that exit is blocked. In Nov./21 I stayed in a hotel at Estacion de Lalin on the Sanabres, where I walked over to the restaurant where I had booked my room and complained about the litter on the stairwell leading to the second floor, where the guest rooms are located. No one was supervising the state of the entrance, where painters had left massive amounts of litter, including a step ladder, on the stairs. There was plenty of empty space to one side of the base of the stairs, but the painters had been too lazy to move the step ladder and bring it back up the next day. Thanks to my complaint, the step ladder was removed. I had to pick up a loose drop cloth, left on the landing, and throw it onto the litter at one side of the stairs. My room was comfortable, but the exit was not safe. I should have also taken the time to look for a second exit. One still lit cigarette butt dumped on that pile of painters refuse and the whole place might have gone up in smoke.
Glad you asked the albergue/restaurant to remove the ladder. If we all politely check for safety when we arrve at our accommodations and bring these concerns to the attention of the owners and to one another here, we can make a difference. Don’t stay if it doesn’t feel safe and say something before you leave…
 
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Roland49

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2023!
Sad to hear that it burnt down.
Had a mini-lunch there (kitchen was closed but they managed to made some delicious food) in 2019 before getting to O'Cebreiro. Very friendly team at that time.

Hope they will reopen in the future.

BC
Roland
 

GraemeHall

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017/18; Portugués 2019
I needed this thread to remind me, when staying in an albergue, hotel etc. in Spain, to find an exit which is not locked at night, and an alternate, in case that exit is blocked. In Nov./21 I stayed in a hotel at Estacion de Lalin on the Sanabres, where I walked over to the restaurant where I had booked my room and complained about the litter on the stairwell leading to the second floor, where the guest rooms are located. No one was supervising the state of the entrance, where painters had left massive amounts of litter, including a step ladder, on the stairs. There was plenty of empty space to one side of the base of the stairs, but the painters had been too lazy to move the step ladder and bring it back up the next day. Thanks to my complaint, the step ladder was removed. I had to pick up a loose drop cloth, left on the landing, and throw it onto the litter at one side of the stairs. My room was comfortable, but the exit was not safe. I should have also taken the time to look for a second exit. One still lit cigarette butt dumped on that pile of painters refuse and the whole place might have gone up in smoke.
Good advice - but not only in Spain. Anywhere.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Sep/Oct 2015
C Primitivo Sep / Oct 2016
Portugese Sep/Oct 2017
VdlP, Muxia 2018
This very sad news just stresses once again how important it is for peregrinos to make sure about emergency exits in albergues.


This report reminded me of our recent discussion about fire safety in albergues.

Thankfully the building was not occupied at the time of the fire.
Heartbreaking. La Fabe is such a beautiful village and pilgrim traffic is so important to their economy. Hopefully they can recover from this tragedy. Thank God people are safe and nobody injured. I enjoyed my stay in La Fabe 2015. Fond memories...
 

camino.ninja

RIP 2022
Time of past OR future Camino
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Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
This very sad news just stresses once again how important it is for peregrinos to make sure about emergency exits in albergues.


This report reminded me of our recent discussion about fire safety in albergues.

Thankfully the building was not occupied at the time of the fire.

One of the old and legendary albergue on Camino Francés. This is so sad …
 
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Gerard Griffin

Active Member
Sad news, such a beautiful and special place.
I stayed there two years ago and have fond memories of the lovely young couple who ran it, the good company, and the delicious vegan food.

I'm glad it was empty at the time of the fire, I hope it was insured, and I hope the owners (who met on the Camino as I recall) know how much the place they created was appreciated. I'd love to see it opened again.

I agree that safety is a huge concern and widely neglected. A fire in a dorm room, especially if the outside door is locked, doesn't bear thinking about. The suggestion that exits need to be routinely checked and hazards politely pointed out is a good one.

It's particularly sad to read the poster who has to check, in places of public resort, against the possibility of a random shooting by a stranger of other strangers.

Covid, fire, accident, illness ... The Camino is safer than most places, and we need to keep it so. But we need also to remember that we know not the day nor the hour, and there too I think the Camino has much to teach us, and great power to console.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Camino Portuguese and Primitivo
This very sad news just stresses once again how important it is for peregrinos to make sure about emergency exits in albergues.


This report reminded me of our recent discussion about fire safety in albergues.

Thankfully the building was not occupied at the time of the fire.
That is so very sad.
 
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Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Waking up to this posting this morning was like a punch to the gut.......

In 2014 while walking towards La Faba we had a chance meeting with "Victor" the horse guy in Las Herrerias (sic) as he was grooming his horses at Al Paso. He told us of his horse rentals, offering us horses to take us to O'Cebrierio. We declined the offer, but enjoyed our conversation with him nonetheless. I told him we were only going as far as La Faba for the day and he said he'd meet us there for a beer later in the afternoon.
Once in La Faba we booked bunks in this refugio and we found it to be "Eclectic", but clean and it met our needs for the night with blankets, a restroom and a shower.
The one stand out feature was the amazingly FRESH homemade Pumpkin soup that was made in their kitchen with vegetables they had just picked from their garden across the street.
A bit later Victor, true to his word, arrived at this refugio and many of us proceeded to sit on the patio together and drink a "number" of beers and eat together while he awaited his horses to walk back down the trail towards his home.
Once the horses arrived they stopped (on their own) in La Faba and Victor bid his good byes to all of us and rode one of the horses back down the hill.
It is amazing how some small benign encounter or experience on a refugio patio in a far away village, halfway across the world can become etched in your mind and resonate with you for years to come.
While La Faba is an ink drop on the map on the Camino Frances, it will never be the same without this one fun refugio. Hopefully some young entrepreuner takes this now skeleton of a building and breathes new life in to it so that the fun can continue with pilgrims that follow.
 
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Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
A very sad loss for the community and the for the camino.
A hard couple of years for all of us, but for them it's now even more awful.

Offering a supportive message on whatever SM platforms they are on would be a real kindness right now, so they know we are thinking of them.
 
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They don't know yet. The building was closed since Tuesday and no fire place was in use.
Thank you, @MinaKamina, for summing up what the fireman said in the video about the cause of the fire in La Faba being unknown. I could hear him say the word chimenea - chimney - and it not having been in use recently or something like that.

I learnt only recently that chimneys need to be cleaned because otherwise the thin layer of particles inside it can become highly inflammable. I am often amazed at the level of my ignorance. Since my childhood in a small village I have known that the officially appointed chimney sweeper comes once a year to clean our chimney (no open fireplace but central oil heating) but I never wondered why ... and from time to time I look at the Twitter feed of the Bomberos of Navarra, and other than rescuing exhausted pilgrims from the Route Napoleon they also frequently have photos of their recent tasks of extinguishing a fire that started in a chimney. The last such incidence was 22 hours ago ...

Anyway, the cause of this devastating fire in La Faba is unknown. I understand that the albergue was closed anyway and that the owner had been elsewhere and the place was unattended.
 
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MinaKamina

Eclipsigrina ~ August 12, 2026
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Jacobspad 2017
Thank you, @MinaKamina, for summing up what the fireman said in the video about the cause of the fire in La Faba being unknown. I could hear him say the word chimenea - chimney - and it not having been in use recently or something like that.

I learnt only recently that chimneys need to be cleaned because otherwise the thin layer of particles inside it can become highly inflammable. I am often amazed at the level of my ignorance. Since my childhood in a small village I have known that the officially appointed chimney sweeper comes once a year to clean our chimney (no open fireplace but central oil heating) but I never wondered why ... and from time to time I look at the Twitter feed of the Bomberos of Navarra, and other than rescuing exhausted pilgrims from the Route Napoleon they also frequently have photos of their recent tasks of extinguishing a fire that started in a chimney. The last such incidence was 22 hours ago ...

Anyway, the cause of this devastating fire in La Faba is unknown. I understand that the albergue was closed anyway and that the owner had been elsewhere and the place was unattended.

Chimenea can refer to a fireplace as well, the entire unit if I may call it that. So the chimney wasn't in use actually means there was no fire in the fireplace.

I've had a fire in my chimney once. I noticed a lot of smoke on the first floor that disappeared after a while. Only when the chimney sweep told me later that I had had a fire in the chimney, I realised what it had been.
I do not have an open fire, but a stove, and I also have to clean the metal pipe between the stove and the chimney at least once during the colder season. A lot of soot collects there.

The building of La Faba appears to be old, and the chimney may well have been its oldest and strongest part. (It is in my house.) In certain pictures of the fire, the roof has already collapsed in the flames, but the chimneys are still standing.

If the fire had happened in certain areas around here, an old and abandoned building on New Years Eve, we would have had our suspicions obviously.
 
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f the fire had happened in certain areas around here, an old and abandoned building on New Years Eve, we would have had our suspicions obviously.
Well, my first thought was actually whether NYE fireworks had caused it ... but we will probably never know.
 
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Landing on a slate roof?
Yes, you're right, though. Who knows?

Anyone wanting to talk about locked doors and such, please don't derail this thread to do that.
There's already a place for that:
Very little point in speculating. In the end it's a real tragedy for La Faba community /village primarily and also pilgrims. From the photos of the damage it looks like it will be quite some time before redevelopment. Local regulations will deal with other matters I suppose
 
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Marc S.

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Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
As there was some speculation.

I just read on a German forum that - according to the owner - the fire was caused by short circuit (at least I believe that this the correction translation of Kurzschluss)
 

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